Maxine Waters and Charles Rangel have quite a bit in common these days. Both are members of the United States House of Representatives and have been for a long time. Rangel has been a member since 1971 and Waters since 1991. Both are Democrats and both are African American. Oh and one more thing, they are both under investigation for ethics violations.
Rangel who represents New York's 15th congressional district is under investigation for alleged improper fund raising and failing to report $600,000 in income, amongst other charges. Thirteen in total.
"The allegations include failure to report rental income from vacation property in the Dominican Republic and hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional income and assets on his financial disclosure statements.
Other charges focused on Rangel's use of congressional staff and stationery to raise money for a college center in New York named after him; accepting favors and benefits from the donors that may have influenced his congressional actions; use of a subsidized New York apartment as a campaign office instead of a residence; and misuse of the congressional free mail privilege." Yahoo News
Waters who represents California's 35th congressional district allegedly helped a friend of her husband get Federal bank bail-out money.
"Congressional sources confirmed late Friday that later this year Rep. Maxine Waters (D- Los Angeles) will face an ethics proceeding likely related to allegations that she sought to help a bank with ties to her husband receive federal bailout funds."- LA Times
First, I have no idea whether Waters or Rangel are guilty of these charges. Nor am I saying that they shouldn't be investigated. But it strikes me as odd that two African American members of the house are under investigation at the same time.
Now maybe at another time in our history these investigations wouldn't even be on my radar. But we all know that the Tea Party/ Republicans have been on a witch hunt since President Obama has been in the White House.
And it seems that all of the Tea Party/ Republican targets have been, you guessed it, African Americans. First there was Van Jones. Then ACORN. Then Desirée Rogers. Then Shirley Sherrod. And in all of those cases both the Obama administration and the Democrats ran like hell from the fight and threw them all to the wolves.
So in this political climate I'm wondering if the Tea Party/ Republicans have realized that if they attack African Americans that no one, not the Democrats nor the White House, will defend them. And if that is the case them maybe, just maybe, Waters and Rangel are just the African Americans who are next in-line.
As I said earlier, Waters and Rangel may indeed be guilty of these charges. But I think it's worth it to stop and think for a moment about the implications of two African American members of the house coming under investigation considering the current racial climate in American politics these days.
And it's also worth it to stop and wonder who is going to be the next Tea Party/ Republican target.
Or maybe I'm just being paranoid?